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"spirituality"

Life is Pushy - What To Do?

Life is just pushy. Life is demanding.


During my past life as a pastor and my current role as a manger in the business setting, I've been privileged to stand with people during all manner of crisis.  From being confronted with critical illness, accidental death to suicide and addiction, I've witnessed people walk through harsh situations.  Life is demanding.


 I've walked through the normal stresses of life with others, as well. We all experience the demands of relationships, illness, job transitions, aging and even the stress of our own feelings and thoughts. Life pushes on us – sometimes hard.
What to do? How about three things?

 

  1.  Know that it’s part of the process. In the same way that hiking to the top of a mountain requires effort, even discomfort life requires effort. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have gotten this idea that life is supposed to have a particular mix of easy and hard; more easy - less hard. Right?. Not true. This moment is our work, our living and it’s often hard, sometimes painful work. 
  2. Do a self-care check. Years ago someone introduced me to the acronym HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. HALT and see if you’re dealing with any of these. If more than two of these is the case, you could be in trouble. Make sure you have as many of these things taken care of as possible – and the good news is, most of these are within our power to address.
  3. Use the buddy system. Why is it we so often go into hiding when we are struggling? Isolation isn’t helpful for managing life’s pushiness. Get with someone else and push back! Throughout every religious expression the importance of community remains constant. As the often quoted, but seldom studied words of the poet remind us,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. - John Donne
 

When life pushes, we can know that it is momentary, take care of ourselves and tap into our community for support.

 

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Who are you? Really. Ponder that for a moment. We all, no doubt, have familiar labels based on our relationships, vocation, accomplishments, hobbies, gender and age. These labels are important to communicating an understanding of who we are, but what about the uncomfortable labels that are part of us as well? Do we own those, too?

Do we live a life such that we are honest about our full humanity?

William Sloan Coffin once said, "You are all so interested in putting your best foot forward, when it is your other foot that is far more interesting."

If we are honest, we all have 'the other foot,' those labels that represent another part of who we are. Try on a few of these: divorced, addict, depressed, confused, failure, angry, hurtful, prejudiced... you get the idea. How willing are we to let others know the full truth?

Do we allow our children to see us struggle with our limitations? Can they ever learn to deal with failure if they don't see us fail and recover?

"Your children need a model of honesty. If you pretend you have no weaknesses, and cover them under masks and facades, your children will learn to do the same and the game will go on. Begin today to see, and accept, the real you beneath the role." - William Martin

As a former pastor, I recall yielding to a similar fallacy. My belief was that if I allowed too much of my humanity to be known, I would not be accepted, liked, loved by the people I served. The trick was not to look perfect, but rather to look just a little bit human, a slight bit flawed - but not reveal the true depth of brokenness that I felt and believed every day. Instead, I played a self-inflicted game of privacy and loneliness. It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.

It seems to me that when I truly listen to others, when I get the gift of connecting with other people on a deep level, we are all deeply broken and sincerely fearful of our true selves.

It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.
— Kim Williams


What say you?


The call of the Divine to us is one of acceptance and knowing, that no matter how bad we may believe we are, no matter how misunderstood or broken we may think ourselves to be, we are nonetheless loved. Ours must be a journey of progress, not perfection, of trying and failing and trying again. Ours is a tale of human imperfection and amazing accidental moments of goodness and badness. We are all of the labels - those we cherish and those we fear revealing.

The Focus Needs to Be On You

Allow me to ramble a bit...

It isn't about the famous, the known, the popular, the powerful... Your life, your capacity for love and light and even the darker side of your humanity is what it's about. In as much as we can manifest our best self, the next level of self, in strength and compassion there is the IT of living. The distractions of others avail us little. Be you. It's what matters. Share you. Care with you.

While this may sound self centered, it really isn't. The one job that I have that nobody else can do is the job of being me, living my life, caring for me. True there must be a giving, serving expression of my living and often in the serving I find out much about myself...

Serve food to the homeless. Help someone change a flat tire. Visit the sick. You'll soon learn a bit about what it really important - still...

This giving needs to come from the solemn and wondrous responsibility of becoming oneself. It is far easier to spend my time and energy caught up with external political events, natural disasters, jerks in the coffee shop and other matters which require none of the work or discomfort of paying attention to my part in all of this and growing to be the next best version of me. 

I need a walk in the woods...

I am NOT...

Hear that?

You're hiking in the woods with a good friend and all of a sudden she stops you and whispers intently, "Hear that?"

You freeze in your tracks, try to control your heavy breathing and listen...

At first nothing. Then a stirring in the brush. The snap of a twig somewhere behind you. You turn to look. A family of whitetail deer-  several does, a fawn and then a majestic buck come into view. You are amazed. Then, there - you see it all. The wildness, the beauty, the strength of the moment - nature, raw and untouchable, untamed. The buck catches your scent on the air, stares at you and your friend for a moment and then snorts and the deer are gone. 

You and your hiking buddy look at each other and smile, then laugh. You've been graced by the woods, touched by a fleeting moment of surprise and you both know it.

Nice?

Here's the deal. What about the woods we are hiking in right now? Am I listening for the subtle sounds of beauty approaching? Is a colleague (or Spirit) trying to alert me that I'm missing something important? Am I willing to stop and really soak up this moment?

Hear that?

Top Holiday Memories - Episode 15

Years ago I received a Christmas card with the text below. It remains my favorite Christmas message of all time. The card had a simple dove in flight, descending on the front of a navy card. Inside, it read:


“Remembering that once, long ago, heaven reach down and touched earth and Hope was born anew.”


Amen.

A Call to Robust Living - Reposted



“My prayer is not the whimpering of a beggar nor a confession of love. Nor is it the trivial reckoning of a small tradesman: Give me and I shall give you.


My prayer is the report of a soldier to his general: This is what I did today, this is how I fought to save the entire battle in my own sector, these are the obstacles I found, this is how I plan to fight tomorrow… ‘Leader!’ I cry. He turns his face towards me, and I shudder to confront his anguish.


Our love for each other is rough and ready, we sit at the same table, we drink the same wine in this low tavern of life.”


--“The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises” by Nikos Kazantzakis


I am truly a fan of Tolkien's ‘The Lord of The Rings” trilogy. I remember spending hours upon hours tucked quietly in my college dorm room, devouring words upon words, page after page as the fantastic saga unfolded and I journeyed with the heroes of Middle Earth in their quests for victory. In the films of the past few years, we have seen the cinematic adaptation of this tale, and I find myself equally enthralled again with Tolkien's message.

Be it the battles of Elves and Orcs, the magical sparring of light wielding Wizards, or the inner struggle of the spirits of Hobbits and a solitary Gollum, the quest and it’s urgency is the same: Avoid the malformed power of the ring until it can be destroyed, at all costs. The heroes know the importance of that last phrase, ‘at all costs.’ Each is willing to, and some in turn do, give their very life for this cause. It is a wonderful drama of the high cost of noble victory.

It is this urgency that I hear in the words of Nikos Kazantzakis written above. If indeed, as I believe is the case, we humans are in need of help beyond ourselves in order to fulfill the beauty of this human drama, and if we are destined to suffer and fail along the way without this help, then there is an equal sense of urgency about our quest as is that of the soldier and the heroes of Tolkien's tale. All the more, If the quest for this assistance is a path that is known by some and open to others, and yet, is never made clear, how can the battle be won?

How tempting it is to tuck into the safety of Bilbo Baggins’ shire (for adventures make one late for dinner) or to hide in the security of the establishment office, for there we feel safe. Might we be missing the more important call for action?

I do not claim to know THE way that anyone should live, but what I do know is that I am committed to the journey toward The Divine, that power that aids and guides me. Do I travel in too scarce a number today? Should I not pause by the road, and share a bit of the tale that has brought me thus far? Can I not beckon others onward to their journey as well? I am made to ask of myself today, “What report can I give to God, today?”

Authoring the Book "Wishful Preaching" - Almost Done.

After about a year... Edits are done. The cover art is done. Just hours away from hitting 'send' to the publisher.



Available SOON via Amazon.

Can I get a Hell Yeah?!

Linger On It


Where do you linger? There are those tastes that just grab us by the tongue and scream delight and indulgence. Do you linger with them, allowing the full force of their impact upon that moment?

Then there are those sounds, the songs that we love to hear – every note, rhythm, and lyric as they dance into our mind and resonate within our body. Do you linger in them, playing them over again to light on each resonance and twisted phonetics?



What about those people whose physical beauty, simply passing by grabs your core? Do you allow yourself to linger in the impression as it launches into your libido and churns ancient and primal sensations, eliminating all thought for a moment? Do you linger there?

What of laughter? When it sneaks up on you and you find your world invaded by a twist of fate or thought, a comical jolt of unexpected amusement.  Do you linger in the wake of a real gut level laugh, leaving you helpless and crying in spasms of delight?

Do you linger on the good moments of life? I think you could…

The Other Side of Kim - Kim the Preacher

Some of you may know that I spent 15 years as a pastor with a mainline denomination. It's true. I want to let the readers here know about a new blog I'm running to focus on matters of a religious and spiritual nature.

preaching and religion


My thought, as my life has change in the decade since I left ordained ministry, is that there are things I wish I had said from the pulpit. No regrets - just a former pastor's way of sharing about crazed religion, absurd theology and hilarious stories. Let me invite you to WishfulPreaching.com. 

You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.